Serbian ethnic cleansing scare was a joke
Sunday Times, 2 April 2000
A report purporting to show that Belgrade planned the systematic ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’s entire Albanian population was “faked” a German general has claimed. The plan, known as Operation Horseshoe, was revealed by Joschka Fischer, the German foreign minister, on April 6 last year, almost two weeks after Nato started bombing Serbia. German public opinion about the Luftwaffe’s participation in the airstrikes was divided at the time. Horseshoe – or ‘Potkova’, as the Germans said it was known in Belgrade – became a staple of Nato briefings. It was presented as proof that President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia had long planned the expulsion of Albanians. James Rubin, the American state department spokesman, cited it only last week to justify Nato’s bombardment.
Heinz Loquai, a retired brigadier general, has claimed in a new book on the war that the plan was fabricated from run-of-the-mill Bulgarian intelligence reports. Loquai, who now works for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), has accused Rudolf Scharping, the German defence minister, of obscuring the origins of Operation Horseshoe…. Loquai has claimed that the German defence ministry turned a vague report from Sofia into a ‘plan’, and even coined the name Horseshoe. Die Woche has reported that maps broadcast around the world as proof of Nato’s information were drawn up at the German defence headquarters in Hardthöhe…. The Bulgarian report concluded that the goal of the Serbian military was to destroy the Kosovo Liberation Army, and not to expel the entire Albanian population, as was later argued by Scharping and the Nato leadership.
We bombed the wrong side? – General Lewis MacKenzie National Post (Canada), 7 April 2004
“Five years ago our television screens were dominated by pictures of Kosovo- Albanian refugees escaping across Kosovo’s borders to the sanctuaries of Macedonia and Albania. Shrill reports indicated that Slobodan Milosevic’s security forces were conducting a campaign of genocide and that at least 100,000 Kosovo-Albanians had been exterminated and buried in mass graves throughout the Serbian province. NATO sprung into action and, in spite of the fact no member nation of the alliance was threatened, commenced bombing not only Kosovo, but the infrastructure and population of Serbia itself — without the authorizing United Nations resolution so revered by Canadian leadership, past and present. Those of us who warned that the West was being sucked in on the side of an extremist, militant, Kosovo-Albanian independence movement were dismissed as appeasers. The fact that the lead organization spearheading the fight for independence, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was universally designated a terrorist organization and known to be receiving support from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda was conveniently ignored.
The recent dearth of news in the North American media regarding the increase in violence in Kosovo compared to the comprehensive coverage in the European press strongly suggests that we Canadians don’t like to admit it when we are wrong. On the contrary, selected news clips on this side of the ocean continue to reinforce the popular spin that those dastardly Serbs are at it again. A case in point was the latest crisis that exploded on March 15. The media reported that four Albanian boys had been chased into the river Ibar in Mitrovica by at least two Serbs and a dog (the dog’s ethnic affiliation was not reported). Three of the boys drowned and one escaped to the other side. Immediately, thousands of Albanians mobilized and concentrated in the area of the divided city. Attacks on Serbs took place throughout the province resulting in an estimated 30 killed and 600 wounded. Thirty Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries were destroyed, more than 300 homes were burnt to the ground and six Serbian villages cleansed of their occupants. One hundred and fifty international peacekeepers were injured.
Totally ignored in North America were the numerous statements from impartial sources that said there was no incident between the Serbs, the dog and the Albanian boys. NATO Police spokesman Derek Chappell stated on March 16 that it was ‘definitely not true’ that the boys had been chased into the river by Serbs. Chappell went on to say that the surviving boy had told his parents that they had entered the river alone and that three of his friends had been swept away by the current. Admiral Gregory Johnson, the overall NATO commander, further stated that the ensuing clashes were ‘orchestrated and well-planned ethnic cleansing’ by the Kosovo-Albanians.
Those Serbs forced to leave joined the 200,000 who had been cleansed from the province since NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombing in 1999. The ‘cleansees’ have become very effective ‘cleansers.’ In the same week a number of individuals posing as Serbs ambushed and killed a UN policeman and his local police partner. During the firefight one of them was wounded which caused an immediate switch from Serbian to Albanian as he screamed, ‘I’ve been hit!’ The UN pursued the attackers and tracked them to an Albanian-run farm where they discovered weapons and the wounded Albanian who had died from his wounds. Four Albanians were arrested. Once again, the ambush had been reported in the United States but not the follow-up which clearly indicated yet another orchestrated provocation by the Albanian terrorists.
….Since the NATO/UN intervention in 1999, Kosovo has become the crime capital of Europe. The sex slave trade is flourishing. The province has become an invaluable transit point for drugs en route to Europe and North America. Ironically, the majority of the drugs come from another state ‘liberated’ by the West, Afghanistan. Members of the demobilized, but not eliminated, KLA are intimately involved in organized crime and the government. The UN police arrest a small percentage of those involved in criminal activities and turn them over to a judiciary with a revolving door that responds to bribes and coercion.
The objective of the Albanians is to purge all non-Albanians, including the international community’s representatives, from Kosovo and ultimately link up with mother Albania thereby achieving the goal of ‘Greater Albania.’ The campaign started with their attacks on Serbian security forces in the early 1990s and they were successful in turning Milosevic’s heavy-handed response into worldwide sympathy for their cause. There was no genocide as claimed by the West — the 100,000 allegedly buried in mass graves turned out to be around 2,000, of all ethnic origins, including those killed in combat during the war itself. The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and independent Kosovo. We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early ’90s and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary. When they achieve independence with the help of our tax dollars combined with those of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other terrorist-supported independence movements around the world.
(Maj-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, retired, commanded UN troops during the Bosnian civil war of 1992)
NBC News, 19 September 2003 [Congressman Curt Weldon (R) Pennsylvania on ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’]
“If Senator Kennedy wants to talk about fraud in relation to the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, he ought to talk….. about what he and President Clinton told us in 1999 when they told us to bomb innocent Serbs, that we’d find 100 thousand mass graves. Those mass graves were never found. They lied to the America people to justify the aerial bombardment campaign.”
Globe and Mail (Canada), 2 September 2004
“Where are the bodies? Was the other big war of the last decade, Kosovo in 1999, triggered by bogus allegations as well? Another case of mass deception? In Iraq, it’s the missing mass weapons of destruction. In Kosovo, it’s the missing mass graves.
In alleged ethnic cleansing exercises by Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, as many as 100,000 to 200,000 civilians were said to have gone missing or been killed in Kosovo, many of them buried in mass graves. Members of a Canadian forensic team to the Serbian province have come forward to label the numbers nonsense. No mass graves, they say, and, on both the Albanian and Serb sides, only a few thousand dead. A mockery of the numbers used to justify the war.
….. The Kosovo story has etchings of Iraq all over it. The United States (the Democrats this time) and Britain (Tony Blair again) demonize an enemy with fraudulent accusations. They play the gullible media, Canada’s included, like a violin. The latest person to debunk the genocide numbers is retired Vancouver homicide detective Brian Honeybourn, a member of the forensic team. He told The Ottawa Citizen this week that his nine-member group found mainly single graves, with a couple of exceptions being one of 20 bodies and another 11. He wonders how genocide charges against Mr. Milosevic can stand up. ‘It seems as though The Hague is beginning to panic.’ But having everybody in the wagon doesn’t excuse what happened. If the forensic teams’ stories are correct, the missing dead in Kosovo is indeed a scandal comparable to the absence of WMD in Iraq. In a five-year period, political leaders twice duped their populations into going to war.”